One's appreciation of a beautiful painting is enhanced by understanding the aesthetic choices the artist has made in the composition and execution of the painting. It is also enhanced by knowing how the artist's selection and use of materials-and their interplay with light-affects what we see in the painting. This book discusses the physics and materials science that allow a painting to appear the way it does: the physical characteristics of the colors one sees in paintings and how they are affected by illumination; the pigments, binders, varnish, and support materials used in both old and modern paintings; the optics and microscopic structure of paint films; and the various physical and chemical methods used to investigate and authenticate paintings. The text includes sections on specialized topics by experts in their respective fields:
• Binders, by R. Newman (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
• Radiocarbon Dating, by D. Stulik (Getty Conservation Institute)
• Dendochronology, by I. Kuniholm (Cornell University)
Based on courses given at Cornell University and Arizona State University, the treatment requires no prior knowledge of physics or chemistry. An instructor's manual with problems and sample examinations is available.